In my last post, I wrote about general issues concerning the educational needs of children with challenging disabilities in our public schools. I briefly mentioned a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and behavior intervention plan (BIP) as two legal components for addressing the needs of children with challenging behaviors. The IDEA actually contains legal provisions for the development of a FBA and BIP.
At a minimum, a functional behavioral assessment must be conducted when the disciplinary sanctions for the student result in out-of-school suspensions of more than ten school days, suspensions occurring when a student possesses a weapon or drugs, or inflicts serious bodily injury to another and is placed in an interim alternative educational setting, or there is a change of the student’s educational placement, or if the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability or if the conduct in question was the direct result of the local educational agency’s failure to implement the IEP, the IEP team shall conduct a functional behavioral assessment. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1415(k)1)(C)(ii), 1415(k)(1)(E)(i), 1415(k)(1)(F); 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.530(d),(e) and (f). Prior to 2004, IEP teams were required to consider positive behavioral interventions when a child’s behavior impeded her learning or that of others. In 2004, the law was amended to permit consideration of other behavioral intervention. 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(3)(B).
The IEP Team shall in the case of a child whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, consider, when appropriate, strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports to address that behavior. 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(3)(B)(i); 34 C.F.R. ‘ 300.324(a)(2)(i).
The regular education teacher of a child with a disability, as a member of the IEP team, must, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development, review, and revision of the child=s IEP, including assisting in the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies for the child . . . .” 20 U.S.C. ‘ 1414(d)(3)(C); 34 C.F.R. ‘ 300.324(a)(3)(i).
Related services are part of a behavioral intervention plan. Psychological service includes obtaining, integrating, and interpreting information about a child’s behavior and conditions relating to learning . . . and assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies. 34 C.F.R. ‘ 300.34(c)(10)(iii),(iv),(vi). Social work services in schools include assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies. 34 C.F.R. ‘ 300.34 (c)(14)(v).
State and localities shall address the needs of in-service personnel (including professional and paraprofessionals who provide special education, general education, related services, or early intervention services) as they relate to developing and implementing positive intervention strategies. 20 U.S.C. § 1453 (c)(3)(D)(vi).
Either before or not later than 10 days after taking disciplinary action . . . if the local educational agency did not conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for such child before the behavior that resulted in the removal. . . the agency shall convene an IEP meeting to develop an assessment plan to address that behavior; or if the child already has a behavior intervention plan, the IEP Team shall review the plan and modify it, as necessary, to address that behavior. 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k)(1)(B)(i),(ii) ; 34 C.F.R. ‘ 300.530(d),(f).
A child with a disability who is removed from the child’s current placement because of special circumstances under 1415(k)(1)(G)(e.g. carrying or possessing a weapon, knowingly possessing or using illegal drugs, or inflicting serious bodily injury upon another person), irrespective of whether the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the child’s disability shall receive “as appropriate, a functional behavior assessment, behavioral intervention services and modification, that are designed to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur.” 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k)(1)(D)(ii); 34 C.F.R. § 300. 530.(d)(ii).
If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability or if the conduct in question was the direct result of the local educational agency’s failure to implement the IEP, the IEP team shall conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan for such child, provided that the local educational agency had not conducted such assessment prior to such determination before the behavior that resulted in a change of placement described in 1415(k)(1)(C ), or 1415(k)(10(G); or in the situation where a behavioral intervention plan has been developed, review the behavioral intervention plan if the child already has a behavioral intervention plan, and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior; and except as provided by 1415(k)(1)(G), return the child to the placement from which the child was removed, unless the parent and the local educational agency agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the behavioral intervention plan. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1415 (k)(1)(E) and 1415(k)(1)(F); 34 C.F.R. § 300.530(e)(1) and (f).
What does all of this mean? Confusing? Absolutely. None of the legal requirements for a FBA and BIP make any sense unless you understand in context their educational purpose. There is considerable peer review research on the subjects of FBAs and BIPs. In the next post, I will give you more insight and explanation what is a FBA and BIP, why they are interrelated, and why they are critical to address the challenging behaviors of children with disabilities.